This update is clearly way overdue but the summer modeling doldrums hit hard this year and I ended up spending most of my free time working on outdoor projects and other things I can only do when the weather is nice. That said, I did manage to complete the basement renovations and am only one small push away from getting the backdrop hung on the wall.
A lot of the stuff I’ve been working on was identical to the stuff I highlighted in previous posts so this update will be shorter than normal but there were a few unique challenges to solve and hopefully this will be a good capstone to this phase of the layout.
After all the planning in the last two updates I can finally share some actual work. As of this writing the basement is around 75% complete but I’ve already got too many photos for a single post. So this month we’ll start at the beginning and work up to the point where I was able to move into the workshop. Next month we’ll go over the fit-out of said workshop and the month after that we’ll finish everything up in the layout area.
Last month I started what I hope will be a monthly series on the construction of my layout. Knowing my penchant for procrastination and the ease with which best laid plans are upset by life and other obligations, I made sure that I had enough material to cover at least the first few months of posts. So here’s the track plan, right on schedule. Continue reading
Milepost 15 HQ.
Happy New Year. It’s that time once again when I buckle down and try to get Milepost 15 on a regular update schedule. We’ll see how long that lasts.
There’s been a lot going on over the past year but not much of it was model (or real) railroad related. Last February Beth and I bought a house which meant that most of 2016 and most of my money was dedicated to moving, unpacking and renovations. The house is a small cape with a single car garage and a large addition off the back. It’s not exactly what we wanted, I would have preferred a two car garage and a basement with full-height ceilings, Beth wanted a colonial (because she wasn’t going to be the one perched two stories up on a ladder when the gutters needed cleaning). That said, the house is in excellent condition and apart from a few incidental things just needs a bit of updating. We got it for less than we had been planning to spend and were able to put 20% down. All in all I think we did pretty well.
I’ve made some decent progress on the staging yard over the past few months. I mounted the Mole turnout motors, laid down the sound deadening material, attached and sanded the roadbed and have begun to lay track. Continue reading
The four assembled and tested Mole switch machines that will be buried in the staging yard.
Work has been progressing quickly on the removable staging yard I’m building for one end of my layout, and a few weeks ago I had reached the point where I needed to get the turnout motors installed. I’m using Proto:87 Stores, Mole Switch Machines which I’ve mounted on two sheets of .080” styrene sheet. This assembly sits in a notched hole in the foam baseboard, invisible from the top, but accessible from below. Continue reading
The layout with its new valance and staging yard all custom built to accommodate my apartment and furniture.
I’ve been writing a lot about my adventures trackside lately, but have neglected to mention the progress I’ve made on the layout. A couple of huge leaps were made over the last few months.
The foam diorama I created to test my ideas. It matches the profile of the layout bases. The square hole is where the switch machine will be mounted.
In order to better visualize how my layout plan will work, I built a small diorama to test my ideas. It’s the same thickness as the layout baseboards (a 1″ piece of foam with a 2″ piece of foam on top where the track is and a 3/4″ piece of foam for the water, so the maximum thickness is 3″, minimum thickness is 1 3/4″). This will allow me to test my switch machine mounting system, turnout construction and placement, sub-roadbed, and scenery techniques. Read on to see what I’ve done so far.
Railroad books have many uses!
I’m slowly working my way towards being able to lay track on my model railroad. One big step that I’d been putting off due to the finicky nature of getting it right, was final assembly on all the foam baseboards. Since I live in an apartment and the layout will eventually need to move, the baseboard is divided into three equal sections. That creates two joints that will have many tracks and a large expanse of “water” spanning them. I have a little experience building modules, and I know that if the joints have large gaps and don’t line up vertically, it’s a huge headache later in the building process, so I’m trying to get everything as tight as possible from the very beginning.
Lighting has been installed on the layout.
After a frustrating, but important and ultimately successful couple of months, I’ve finished installing the canopy lighting on the layout. I used two parallel runs of LED light strips operating off of their own dedicated power supply to provide consistent illumination to the entire layout. It took some experimentation, but now that it’s done I’m happy with the result.